The 78th Golden Globe Awards got off to an awkward start, seeking to address controversy regarding the organization behind the ceremony, while experiencing technical glitches amid a pandemic-dictated format.
This year’s ceremony proceeded under what amounted to twin clouds. Normally considered a big, free-wheeling party (including drinking), the pandemic required a more inventive approach, mirroring some of the remote techniques pioneered at last year’s Emmy Awards. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler again hosted, but in a bicoastal format from New York and Beverly Hills, respectively.
More significantly, the broadcast followed reporting by the Los Angeles Times about questionable ethical behavior by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the group that presents the awards, and has long been the subject of such controversies — as well as its complete lack of Black members, which prompted criticism from a number of major Hollywood figures.
The night’s first two awards, notably, both went to Black stars: Daniel Kaluuya, for the historical drama “Judas and the Black Messiah;” and John Boyega, for an installment in the Amazon anthology “Small Axe.”
Neither directly addressed the controversy, although Fey and Poehler did, calling on the HFPA to address the lack of inclusivity in its ranks, during an alternating monologue in which Fey referred to the group as “90 international, no-Black journalists” and “European weirdos.”
The otherwise-empty ballrooms were populated by masked first responders, while nominees watched from home. The cutaways, however, were a bit awkward, and Kaluuya’s feed experienced technical difficulties before he could deliver his acceptance.
Organizers of the awards stated in advance that they would address the latter concern within the broadcast.
NBC, which pays millions each year for rights to televise the ceremony, has had no comment regarding the HFPA and the latest concerns surrounding it.
The nominations underscored the weirdness of this year’s awards process, with many movie theaters closed and streaming services, especially Netflix, occupying an expanded role. Nominations for the Oscars — like the Globes, delayed due to the pandemic — will be announced on March 15.